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Blockchain for a circular economy – Explorative research towards the possibilities for blockchain technology to enhance the implementation of material passports



Last Updated: 3-2018


The current linear economy is based on the take-make-dispose model. This model is structured around the consumption of goods instead of keeping them at their highest value. If this model continues to be the most dominant approach the scarcity of raw materials will increase, which will drive up costs and price volatility. The linear economy not only creates problems regarding raw materials but also has a large impact on the environment. The use of products within the take-makedispose model creates tremendous amounts of waste. The concept of a circular economy minimizes these streams of waste. A lack of information is often cited as a main problem that lead to waste. Therefore, material passports are created to fill this information gap; however, material passports face barriers that could prevent their use. Using semi-structured interviews, there is analysed which opportunities, barriers, and requirements are viewed as key within the market when people use material passports. These opportunities, barriers, and requirements will make a comprehensive list of aspects that are important for material passports. This study analysed which aspects can be addressed through blockchain technology. Concluded from the outcomes can be stated that blockchain technology can be used as a validation for material passports. The public permissionless blockchain can be used to validate all the data entries and adjustments within the material passport. This creates one truth within the network that is accessible by all participants. Within the blockchain it is always visible who the owner is and who has made what adjustments to the data. This enhanced scenario is discussed regarding the aspects of provision, storage, access, quality, presentation, and the process of giving information. The research contributes to the field by outlining important aspects of a material passport, identifying how these aspects could be addressed with blockchain technology, and conceptualising an enhanced material passport with blockchain technology. Possibilities for further research are discussed.

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